CHENNAI: With the pro-jallikattu protests showing the strong bonding of youth to Tamil identity, the mainstream parties in the state are quickly jumping on to the Tamil nationalist bandwagon in their bid for a youth connect. Parties like the PMK and DMDK too joined the Dravidian parties in observing a Martyrs' Day for anti-Hindi agitators, which is usually observed by the Dravidian parties AIADMK, DMK and MDMK. The Dravidian parties, which used to observe the day as a routine affair, took it as a major issue this year and used the occasion to drive home the point that they had fought to save the Tamil language five decades ago.
The parties, with statements and protest announcements also took up the cause against the construction of check dams across the Bhavani river by the Kerala government. While Stalin and PMK youth wing leader Anbumani Ramadoss flayed Kerala's move, MDMK leader Vaiko went ahead and announced a rail roko in Coimbatore on January 27. The protests could disrupt rail traffic to Kerala over the weekend if the trains were blocked after reaching Coimbatore.
DMK working president M.K. Stalin, in a public meeting in Coimbatore - one of the major centres of jallikattu protests as well as anti-Hindi agitation - recalled his party's role in the 1965 protests and explained how cadres of DMK sacrificed their lives against the imposition of Hindi. He also hit out at the ruling AIADMK as a puppet of the BJP regime in Delhi. On the same day, AIADMK fielded Lok Sabha deputy speaker M. Thambidurai to distance the party from the BJP regime. He came out strongly against the BJP government's approach to the jallikattu issue and asserted that his party is working to win the rights of Tamils.
MDMK utilised the occasion to display its leader Vaiko's direct participation in the anti-Hindi agitation as a college student with party posters describing him as a warrior against Hindi. PMK founder S. Ramadoss too addressed a meeting to recall the 1965 agitations, held at least two decades before he formed his party. Actor Vijayakanth who formed the DMDK four decades after the agitations issued a statement recalling the protests and asserted that his party had always stood for Tamil pride....